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SFO's Deferred Prosecution Hunt May Hit Dead End With City

February 20, 2017, Law360

Ian Hargreaves is quoted in a Law360 article regarding the use of deferred prosecution agreements by the Serious Fraud Office to push deeper into enforcement in financial services. According to Hargreaves, financial firms have lived in the era of self-disclosure to the Financial Conduct Authority for so long they fully understand the consequences — and leave little to chance. “They are well-versed and tend to always report.”

Commenting on how useful DPAs have proven to be, Hargreaves says, “With DPAs you can manage the process better, and you can try and get more favourable press coverage through agreed press releases. However, in some cases the news of today simply becomes the fish and chip paper of tomorrow, ” He continues, “The benefits of DPAs may not be as obvious as the SFO would like at this point.”

“However, it must be stressed that DPAs relate to deferred criminal prosecutions- not civil recovery orders," Hargreaves adds. “DPAs are a sensible development  if we are looking for realistic, commercial compromises rather than unduly aggressive cost-inducing proceedings which do not necessarily work in the best interests of the SFO or the businesses that are subject to criminal prosecutions."


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